this morning was a community garden work day starting at 10am. i planned on going, but when the time arrived, i made up some lame excuse in my head not to go. however, i still ended up going out of a sense of guilt, plus just to build up some good will should i ever need a gardening favor. when i arrived around 10:20am, there were less than half a dozen people there including myself. anne marie gave me the job of weeding the front common bed. i was lost in my own little weeding world, but by the time i was mostly finished, there were about a dozen helpers in the garden, which is still low considering if we went by plot allocation we should have over 30 volunteers. but the work day is not mandatory, just suggested, and there are no penalties if you don't show up.

i thought i'd leave after an hour but i didn't get out of there until after 12pm. by then most everyone else had left, including anne marie. i watered my plot before leaving, snipping off some walking onion bulbs to take back to belmont so my father can plant them in our garden. after packing up my things, i rode the motorcycle to my parents' place, arriving by 12:30pm.

i had some pancake bread, sausages, and eggs for lunch, along with some dragon fruit slices i bought yesterday. my father created a dish using leftover soy bean milk dregs that tasted like salty mashed potatoes.

i helped my mother order a 10" marble nonstick frying pan. she'd ordered one earlier in the week, but i found a set that was even cheaper and sent her the link. she never saw it until i mentioned it to her today. it was similar to the one she ordered, was the size she wanted (the one she ordered was too large), came with a glass lid (the one she ordered was just the pan), and more importantly, it was 50% off. so she asked me to order it for her, arriving tomorrow.

the first thing i noticed when i went out in the backyard was some wilting squash vines in RB0. one vine was completely dead, the one with a kinked bottom stem, which is a death sentence for vertical growing gardens. the other vine after a close inspection i realized had been infiltrated by a squash vine borer. i went in the basement to get my bottle of concentrated Btk solution, mixed 1/4 tsp in a container of water, and injected the solution into the stem 1 ml at a time. whether this saves the vine or not it's hard to say, but i did the same thing to a penetrated squash vine last year and that managed to survive, so it's a worthwhile technique. fortunately none of our other larger squash vines have been tunneled by vine borers. afterwards i inspected all the vines for eggs, which i'm still finding.

the squash vines seem to be on the rebound, after several weeks of rainy weather had cut into their development. my father kept asking me if i did anything to the squashes, since he believes it was the fertilizer i used. i can't be sure, because it's a combination of fertilizing with miracle-gro at the base, miracle-gro foliar treatment, the espoma plant food fertilizer granules, and the mystery fertilizer granules my father himself added. it could also be because we've had some sun this week. too many factors, hard to say which ones worked and didn't work.

so all the second generation squashes we saw last weekend pretty much all aborted. the new squashes that are growing - third generation? - were ones we didn't even know we had, that sort of fertilized successfully and swelled up to the point where we suddenly noticed them unexpectedly. this also happens to coincide with all the first generation squashes seeming to have reach maturity, their stems hardening off. that most likely freed up resources to develop a second batch of squashes. the vines are so intertwined at this point, it's hard to figure out which vines the squash fruits belong to since it's difficult to trace it back to its root.

the bitter melons are successfully making melons now! there were tiny ones that looked like they might abort, but the two we found today were larger, which means they're definitely growing. the bitter melons don't really look like much, like green shriveled sausages. they also don't seem to grow as fast as the squashes.

long beans are also producing. these long beans took so long to get growing that all the trellis spaces have been taken up by either cucumbers or squashes, very little space left for the beans. the flowers look like failed blossoms and the beans themselves resemble stems until my father pointed them out to me. we may not produce enough to eat, might just save the beans for seeds for next season.

the few asiatic lilies in the perennial bed behind the garage have bloomed. my cherokee sunset rudbeckias are also partially blooming, each one a different color. likewise the chinese asters, which look a lot like chrysanthemums. too bad they're only annuals, but hopefully they'll produce enough seeds to self-sow for next season. they need to be protected though, since rabbits will eat the leaves.

the only hydrangea that managed to flower is the one in the outside garden, producing a white bloom. i trimmed the blue hydrangea in the southeastern bed, converting the stems into two cuttings.

i still can't believe it, but so far still no signs of black rot on our grapes. i found a few darken grapes, but they all look like regular rot due to insect damage and not disease. it's been a long time since we had a successful grape harvest, nearly 2 decades. the last time i recorded normal concord grapes was back in september 2004. i also remember taking a photograph that predates the blog where we collected a plastic tray of ripen grapes.

elsewhere in the garden: my father planted the walking onions in our raised planters against the southern side of the sunroom; i harvested a purple pingtung taiwanese eggplant; i saw one last weekend but managed to catch a spotted cucumber beetle. my father thought it was a ladybug (they do look similar). spotted cucumber beetles don't spread bacterial wilt like striped cucumber beetles; i noticed a lot of our kwanzan cherry leaves have tiny dots on them. that's probably my fault, spraying neem oil on a hot day, scalding the leaves. i definitely won't do that next spring; since one of the squash vines was dead, my father removed the only squash it managed to produce, about the size of a grapefruit.

sometime after 5pm my father started grilling some drumsticks on the barbecue. at one point there was a grease fire due to the accumulated of oils at the bottom of the barbecue and i had to turn off all the burners and wait for the grease to burn itself out. the drumsticks turned out very well, the perfect amount of char, slathered with some sweet chili sauce for a delicious glaze.

after dinner i biked back to cambridge. i put the cover on the motorcycle since it's going to rain tomorrow. there was nothing good on television. i know the olympics is happening, but there are so many events it's almost olympics overload and i ended up can't deciding what to watch. instead i streamed the angels-twins game. angels starting pitcher patrick sandoval was flirting with a no-hitter that finally broke in the 9th inning when a twins batter managed to get a hit.